Ok, so your brother-in-law is lining up his putt tomorrow. He's beating you badly on that front nine, even giving you strokes, so you resort to the oldest trick in the book. Greenside chatter - ol' fashioned trash talkin' - NEVER in his backswing, that would be a breach of etiquette, of course - but enough crap to get him thinking as he hops in and out of the cart. If it works, he yips that next putt and then stares at you - you shoot back that quiet smirk and say "good putt." If it doesn't work, he chuckles and snaps up that ball from the cup. You immediately retort that he is playing well and add, "if you just smooth this drive, you'll break 40 on the front." You've just guaranteed he won't.
Welcome to his kitchen - you're in it.
Dick Cheney is in President Obama's kitchen.
How do we know? Because the White House scheduled a major foreign policy speech this past week for one major reason - to address the concerns about Obama's recent decisions on GITMO and the release of interrogation memos, raised most prominently by none other than Darth Vader's twin, Dick Cheney.
When did you ever hear of Bill Clinton feeling compelled to respond to Dan Quayle's criticism? Or Ronald Reagan feeling compelled to respond to Walter Mondale - before or during the 1984 campaign?
Why then respond to Dick Cheney? Because eventually, even amateurs understand the difference between semi-pro ball and the majors. The few adults wandering the halls of the White House know that Obama has been playing semi-pro ball for the last 4 months, catering to the whims of his far left wing electoral base. In so doing, Obama has miserably attempted to articulate a coherent foreign policy, defined not on what it is, but on what it is not - "it isn't the Bush Administration." Yet, time after time, whether it's the timetable for withdrawal of troops out of Iraq or the renewed use of military tribunals for terrorists, Obama has ultimately endorsed the Bush policy. These reversals, of course, reveal Obama's election, more and more, as nothing but an irrelevant afterthought in the post-9/11 development of American foreign policy.
In a desperate attempt to resurrect his aimless foreign policy, Obama has blamed his predecessor for "hasty decisions" on matters of national security. Yet, even congressional Democrats have recently and repeatedly pointed out - no one was more "hasty" about GITMO than a president who announces its prospective closing without a plan. Combine that with Obama's just-announced reversal of his once intended release of Abu Ghraib photos and it's difficult, if not impossible, to conclude that Obama is a ready for prime time player or that his policies preserve American national security. And, the first and only Republican to skillfully articulate this criticism was Dick Cheney.
By getting in Obama's kitchen with his commentary over the past month, Cheney has baited the White House into making him its target. Overplaying its 'blame Bush' card, the White House mistakenly believed that by drawing attention to Cheney, it would divert public attention from the growing ineptitude of a president, whose adolescence, arrogance and hubris is increasingly apparent - all in favor of an overstated disdain for "all things Cheney." This is, yet, another foolish mistake by our White House novices.
The core of the White House miscalculation is that it underestimated the gravitas that Dick Cheney brings to everything he says on the topic of foreign policy and terrorism. Obama's toothy grin and youthful swagger to the podium is no match for the icy and deliberative speech of a veteran politico armed with purpose, facts and a more than healthy dose of patriotic fervor.
Dick Cheney's been playing in the major leagues for 35 years. Try as it might, the White House can blame the Bush Administration until the cows come home, but it won't change two central points about Cheney. He will forget more about national security and foreign policy in an afternoon than our nascent president will come to know in 4 years. Second, Cheney was part of a presidential administration that kept America safe for 7 plus years, without another terrorist attack - a fact not lost on the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and, increasingly, not lost on the public.
Confirming Cheney's role as the proverbial sand in Obama's oyster is the fact that the president deemed it necessary to give a "speech-redo" at the U.S. Naval Academy graduation, just a day after Cheney's American Enterprise speech revealed Obama's incompetence with a clarity seldom seen in Washington. This speech was nearly as ineffective as the first. Viewing the speech was almost painful - he was trying so hard to make his promises of limited and judicious deployment mean something against the backdrop of four months of indecision, or decision and reversal.
Unless and until President Obama quits playing games with national security, he will give Dick Cheney ample reason to keep calling his bluff. Cheney knows that Obama's charm won't protect our shores from the scourge of terrorism - a point that the liberal media wants to disregard. Cheney knows that Obama's apologies for past American transgression won't make the terrorists like us any more. He says what Washington pundits know, but won't - Obama's appeasement of terrorists is reckless childplay with American national security.
And, thankfully, as long as that childplay continues, Dick Cheney will do all he needs to do to stay in Obama's kitchen.